Thursday, February 23, 2012

Creating A Cover

A short time ago, I put forth a plea for input on titles and covers for my upcoming Pine Hills Police novel. A quick recap: It's Book 3 in a series, so both title and cover had to fit with the others (there's also a short story anthology, so that makes 4 covers/titles that have to coordinate.)

After taking the input provided by you, I finally had to make the commitment. A lot of factors played into the decision.

Finding Daylight, my #1 choice for a title didn't work out for several reasons. That would have put 3 of 4 books with "Finding" in the title, making poor "Hidden Fire" the odd man out. Also, when I did a quick search on Finding Daylight at Amazon, I found self help and religious books, which are a far cry from my book.

Then, we looked at how the title would lay out on the cover. The one that fit both the theme of the book and the requisite cover art ended up being "Saving Scott."

During this process I worked closely with my cover artist, Dave Fymbo. I asked Dave to share his process, and this is what he said:

I start by asking clients what the book is about, what the tone should be, and if they have any images or colors in mind. Then I'll do an initial exploration. I search for free images that would work as well as lay down some text options. Sometimes the right font is the design. But usually the hardest part is finding the right image. For the first round I send between 5 and 10 options. Then I strip away all the text and go round and round until the imagery is perfect. This often includes compositing multiple photos, adjusting colors and contrast, and lighting effects.

So, these are some of the preliminary images Dave sent me. There were more!




We discussed these, and from this selection, we eliminated the scenics because they didn't fit the story(and the book takes place in the summer, so the snow wouldn't work). We also eliminated the chocolate, because although it fit the bakery, it wouldn't match the focus of the book, which was Scott's personal growth, not Ashley's bakery. I also told him I didn't want a "cheery" color scheme, because of the nature of the book.




The bakery building and the street scene gave the cover a "cozy" feel, which wasn't appropriate for my romantic suspense genre. Dave worked on the remaining "possibles" and sent another round. I told him which background I preferred, and then he really got to work. In his words:

Once the client picks a background, then I'll start on text exploration. The right font is key. The text is really what separates a professionally designed cover from something that looks homemade. If you have smaller words like "the" or "in" it's helpful to make them smaller. Colors, shadows, 3D effects all help to make a title that pops off the page. Again, I like to send at least 5-10 font choices, so that authors can pick their favorites. And if they don't feel like any are working, I'll come up with 10 more.


And he means it. Dave has the patience of a saint, I swear. After we decided on the right image for the cover, he was willing to tweak things like colors, fonts, lighting, and teeny tiny nudges to the layout—I think we ended up with 16 variations before we agreed we'd found The Cover.


I hope you like it!





Dave's philosophy: Because it takes a long time to write a book, the cover should match the writing effort. You can find more about Dave's work at his website.

For more about the book, including an excerpt, check the Coming Soon tab on my website.

Like this post? Please share by clicking one of the links below.

22 comments:

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

You know, my eye was pulled right to that cover in the line-up. It was the light in the window. Very nice, Terry!

W. Lynn Chantale said...

Very nice.

Terry Odell said...

Elizabeth - 98% of the credit goes to Dave.

W. Lynn - thanks. I like it.

Mario said...

Great analysis of the design. The resulting cover looks perfect.

Terry Odell said...

Mario -- thanks so much. Let's hope in will entice a few sales.

Lana Williams said...

This is all very interesting! Thanks for sharing the process! And I totally agree - you and he picked the right one! Looks great!

Janet Kerr said...

Beautiful cover Terry! I look forward to reading it. Also, this is good information for writer's on how to create a cover.
Thanks so much!

Terry Odell said...

Lana - thank Dave!

Janet - it'll be out mid-March. And I'm glad I didn't' have to design the cover, only say, "Yes" or "No" to the choices.

Dory said...

Ditto on the 'light in the window'.

Good insight into the cover process.

Jemi Fraser said...

Great choice! THanks for letting us in on the process - Dave does great work :)

janie said...

I enjoyed learning how a cover is selected. I think the cover pops more when a contrasting color is used for the lettering than a color that is used in the background.

Terry Odell said...

Thanks, everyone. Although you can swap out e-book covers much more readily than getting a traditional publisher to make changes, I prefer to think of it as a final product.

Kathy said...

What a great blog and thanks for sharing the process of creating your book cover.

Terry Odell said...

Kathy, it was a lengthy process, so I figured I'd share in case there are people out there who think covers magically appear.

Karen C said...

Very interesting process, indeed and great cover!

Laura Pauling said...

I picked that one as the best too before I saw that you both chose it as the final. Terrific!

Patricia Stoltey said...

Perfect choice! As one who often pulls books off the shelf because I'm attracted to the cover, I'd definitely grab this one to check out the synopsis.

Bob said...

Thanks so much for sharing this, both for the insight into the process, and for the source! It's great to see the process, and it's great to have one more cover artist to look at.

LRHunter said...

Like the others, i was drawn to that particular building/pose right away. And the finished product is beautiful!

Wish my artist had been so interactive when she was designing the header for my (now dead and buried) website.

Great work, Terry and Dave!

Terry Odell said...

Karen - yes, it's definitely a process, especially when the cover artist keeps you in the loop

Laura - it's great when something jumps out. It's finding it that's the hard part!

Pat - well, the synopsis is on my "coming soon" page on my website! :-)

Bob - I hope you'll check out Dave. He's great to work with, and his prices are very reasonable.

LR - customer service (in this case, interaction) is always a good thing.

Meg said...

WOW!!! LOVE IT, Terry! Very eye-catching, especially with the light reflection. Awesome.

Terry Odell said...

Meg - Wow is good! Thanks.